Kasper and Germanicus’s Thomism

Xavier Rynne II, in his Letters from the Synod column for the Catholic Herald, discourses briefly upon the Germanicus group’s invocation of the Angelic Doctor in its second report:

The German-speaking group’s report then quotes St Thomas Aquinas on the virtue of prudence, as if the “Common Doctor” would agree with the approach just sketched. But if the German circulus would read a little further in Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae, they’d discover this: “Prudence includes knowledge both of universals, and of the singular matters of action to which prudence applies the universal principles” [emphasis added].

St Thomas’s point is that prudence is precisely the virtue that rightly guides the individual to put the universal principle into action in his life. In fact, some might argue that the “law of graduality” being advocated by various Synod fathers veers dangerously close to what Aquinas called the vices of counterfeit prudence: “craftiness,” which prescribes morally illicit means to obtain a desired end, and “inattentiveness,” where one does not listen to (or even rejects) the Divine Law out of a love for creaturely goods, which could include a desire for human honour, or an excessive respect for persons.

Thomas Aquinas also teaches us that some actions are always and everywhere wrong, because they’re incompatible with the life of sanctifying grace. Thus he cites adultery as an example of an act that has “an intrinsic moral deformity, and can never be rightly done”. Which is to say, adultery is always and objectively a mortal sin. And one who is guilty of mortal sin aggravates his guilt if he receives the Eucharist without first repenting. For an unrepentant grave sinner, Aquinas says, receiving the Eucharist is spiritual poison, not spiritual medicine. Like all truly Catholic theologians, Aquinas understands that the sacraments do not work magically: if a person will not repent of grave sin, not even the Sacrament of Penance can confer sanctifying grace, because there is an obstacle to grace in person’s will.

(Emphasis supplied and footnotes omitted.)

We are reminded that Prof. Thomas Heinrich Stark has noted that Cardinal Kasper reads Aquinas through a Kantian-Hegelian lens. Back in July, Edward Pentin ran an interview with Prof. Stark, in which the good professor noted,

 have said several times, “As far as I understand him,” because the problem with this sort of theology is that it is difficult to understand, not because one has to be very intelligent to understand it, but because it is not coherent, in my opinion. And one can only figure it out if one understands the language they use. I mean, it’s not only Kasper; it’s very many people of influence in modern theology. If one reads this language carefully, one can easily see an admixture of imitating [Martin] Heidegger and the influence of Existentialism, some pieces from [Emmanuel] Kant and Hegel, which are read into Thomas Aquinas. They read Thomas through the lens of Hegel and Kant, which simply cannot be done, in my opinion. And they mix up various philosophical positions that really can’t be put together in a coherent, logical way.

The way they attempt to intertwine all of their theories forms a sort of pseudo-dialectic that is not really logical and coherent, and they put it in such a way as to provide an opportunity to get away with novel theories without being under the critical view of the magisterium, because they can always shift to the right and then to the left, as need be.

(Emphasis supplied.)